Dental hygienists unite to protect young smiles

The Esther Wilkins Legacy League was founded through the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, and serves as the philanthropic arm of the Esther Wilkins Education Program. Program volunteers promote children’s oral health through outreach education. Fern Ingber, NCOHF founding president and CEO, talks about the many opportunities for dental hygienists to get involved in the effort.

May 3rd, 2013
Esther Wilkins Fo

“Her love and enthusiasm for dentistry is contagious. She is such an inspiration,” noted Sharon B., RDH, about Dr. Esther Wilkins, an icon in dentistry and Founding Contributor of the Esther Wilkins Education Program. As a volunteer in the Esther Wilkins Education Program, Sharon helps make a difference for those in her community by encouraging them to practice good oral health habits through her outreach activities.

Started in 2011, the Esther Wilkins International Education Program has attracted dental hygiene professional and student volunteers from through the U.S., Canada and military bases around the world.(1) Thousands of dental hygienists and students are using the community educational materials provided through this program of National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy to reach thousands of children and their families with critical oral health education.(2) Program volunteers receive America’s ToothFairy Community Education Kits including engaging oral health lessons that focus on nutrition, biofilm control and germ transmission prevention.

“The magnetic board is extremely effective. It felt great to be able to have the resources to be able to effectively teach the community about dental health and how it can affect your overall health and body,” said program volunteer, Rebecca Walker, RDH, from Wisconsin. She used the America’s ToothFairy Community Education Kit she received through the program in childcare centers, schools and Head Start programs.

Sarah Deakins, RDH, found her outreach education to be incredibly rewarding. She used her America’s ToothFairy Education Kit to reach children in elementary schools and Head Start programs in Alaska. She said, “It was a great experience! The kids were so excited to use the big toothbrush. After each class, the kids gave me a big hug!”

Chaired by Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, Michele Darby, BSDH, MS, Anna Pattison, RDH, MS, and Rebecca Wilder, RDH, MS, the Esther Wilkins Education Program was made possible through the generosity of the visionary Dr. Esther Wilkins, corporations including Xlear and Sybron Dental Specialties and caring, dedicated dental professionals.(3,4)

We need your help to continue to fuel the great work being done by program volunteers to promote children’s oral health through outreach education. Understanding that prevention is the key to breaking the cycle of dental disease, volunteer dental hygiene professionals and students empower children and families by teaching them how to maintain a healthy smile. We need those most passionate about prevention and grasp the importance of oral health education to join the fight against childhood caries as a member of the Esther Wilkins Legacy League!(5)

Serving as the driving force for program outreach education, Esther Wilkins Legacy League members support ongoing oral health promotion efforts conducted by the program volunteers. As community oral health educators and prevention specialists, this is a cause that every dental hygienist can embrace.

With volunteers in every state and a majority of the dental hygiene schools in the U.S., the ability for this program to positively impact children’s oral health continues to grow. Compassionate, dedicated dental hygiene professionals and students need effective educational materials to help children and their families understand the importance of oral health and its link to overall systemic health.

Now dental hygienists can help ensure this great work continues to help protect smiles for years to come! As members of the Esther Wilkins Legacy League, dental hygienists can help support their colleagues in their efforts to promote children's oral health.

Your support matters. Join Dr. Wilkins and help support the great work of Sharon, Sarah and your colleagues in their efforts to promote children’s oral health by becoming a member of the Esther Wilkins Legacy League! Your donation will go directly to providing valuable educational tools to promote prevention and good oral health behavior.

References
1. http://www.ncohf.org/get-involved/volunteer.
2. http://www.americastoothfairy.org/.
3. http://www.xlear.com/.
4. http://www.sybrondental.com/.
5. http://www.ncohf.org/professionals.
6. http://www.ncohf.org/our-programs/esther-wilkins-international-education-program/esther-wilkins-legacy-league.
7. http://www.rdhunderoneroof.com/.

Fern Ingber is the Founding President & CEO of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America'sToothFairy/Canada'sToothFairy and community advocate for underserved women and children.

National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy is a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating children’s preventable suffering from pediatric dental disease by providing programs and comprehensive resources to deliver community-based preventive, educational and treatment services. America’s ToothFairy serves as an EDUCATOR about the importance of oral health, PREVENTER of disease and PROTECTOR of children. Serving children in Canada as Canada’s ToothFairy, the charity changing young lives throughout North America.

To read more articles in RDH eVillage FOCUS written by Fern Ingber, click here.

To read more about Esther Wilkins and dental hygiene, click here.

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